Two swimmers drown near Emerald Isle beach


EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Two 70-year-old men drowned while swimming off-shore of the beach strand near Ship Wreck Lane.

Sunday afternoon, the Coast Guard responded to a call about two swimmers in distress.

Four surfers and a Town of Emerald Isle lifeguard entered the water and tried to save the two men.

The team pulled the two men to shore.

Despite life saving efforts by volunteers and first responders, both men died from their injuries.

The swimmers are identified as James Howard Burton, 72, of Cornelius, North Carolina, and John C. Emerline, 73, of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Reports indicate Burton was in the ocean and appeared to be in trouble.

Emerline entered the water and attempted to save him.

“A loss of this magnitude is simply heartbreaking,” stated Town Manager Matt Zapp.  “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Burton and Emerline families during this tragic time.”

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